Technicolor and the Use of Colour in Film

Technicolor - So The Theory Goes - The Red Shoes - Evolution of Cinema

The black and white film was the original cinematic medium; thus, early filmmakers had to become experts in using contrast. Decades of progress have resulted in an increasing number of tools at filmmakers’ disposal.

Technicolor played an essential role in filmmaking. This article will highlight the use of colour in films and explain how its use has evolved.

Evolution of colour in film from Kinemacolor to Technicolor

Kinemacolor and Chronochrome

Color can be created on photographic films using either an additive or a subtractive approach. For example, Kinemacolor and Chronochrome methods. Projectors and specialised cameras must be used for additive processes. Thus, making them too expensive and complex for everyday use. It eventually limited their appeal.


This technology changed filmmaking forever with its surreal use of colours. It had a long-lasting influence on Hollywood filmmaking. Films were initially shot in Technicolor, a set of colourisation processes. Technicolor worked on perfecting their method from 1916 to 1932, allowing Hollywood to begin using colour in their pictures. The term “Technicolor” is now commonly used to refer to the finished product rather than the technique itself. The colours in Technicolor movies tend to be very vivid and saturated.

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